Marketing Plan: Marketing Plan for a Series of Survival Courses

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Marketing Plan for a Series of Survival Courses

There are no second chances in Mother Nature's survival course. -- Robin Lydenburg, 1999

Manmade and natural disasters can strike at any time, and the growing popularity of television shows such as "Survivorman" and "Doomsday Preppers" is evidence that many people are interested in knowing what to do when emergencies occur in order to improve their chances of survival. A growing body of research confirms that knowledge of, and training related to, disaster and terrorism survival skills and survival planning are important for private citizens as well as organizations, especially in the post-September 2001 work-life environment. Today, private citizens and organizational employee assistance programs are increasingly seeking out the survival course training that will be needed to survive manmade and natural disasters as discussed further below.

Situational Analysis

Market Summary

Recent disasters and terrorist incidents such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina clearly indicate that individual survival skill ability was lacking (Hurst, 2006). The enormity of these natural and manmade disasters was so severe that people who were not directly victimized by them were still harmed in ways that caused shock, stress, personal loss, and physical and mental injury (Hurst, 2006). Consequently, virtually anyone may be interested in survival skills training as discussed further below.

Market Demographics

The profile for the typical consumer is (a) everyone who is concerned about improving their chances for survival following a manmade or natural disaster, especially those living in close geographic proximity and (b) companies wanting to provide survival training for their employees as part of an employee assistance program (Hurst, 2006).

Geographics. The company is geographically situated in the Pacific Northwest on 100 acres of wilderness.

Demographics. Both private and corporate clients of all ages and both genders in the geographic area of interest will be targeted. Targeting corporate clients is congruent with current trends that indicate a growing number of companies are offering employee assistance programs that include a survival course component (Hurst, 2006). According to Hurst, "Professionals need to become expert at training and consulting with individuals and organizations on the critical skills necessary to survive and recover from a disaster or terrorist attack and build productive lives and workplaces in the aftermath" (2006, p. 14). An important point made by Hurst is the need to extend survival course training to all employees, irrespective of their positions or physical limitations. After all, people in wheelchairs or with other physical limitations also want to maximize their chances for survival post-disaster, but these participants will be expected to complete the same coursework as their peers to the extent they are able. The five main components of survival skills and survival planning training include the following five major topics:

1. Learning the psychology of survival;

2. Understanding the "survival" blue-print;

3. Surviving different environments;

4. Creating a survival plan and kits; and

5. Simulating a survival situation (Hurst, 2006, p. 14).

Market Needs

There is a growing demand for survival courses for a wide range of applications and settings. For example, the oil and gas industry requires all employees to complete the Gulf Technical and Safety Training Centre in Abu Dhabi in order to be allowed to work in offshore facilities. This two-day offshore survival course includes hands-on disaster management training as well as firefighting training (Baxter, 2010). Likewise, in El Paso, Texas, all teachers are required to complete the Adult Civil Defense Survival Course as part of their employment agreement (Rose, 2001).

Market Trends

This is an interesting period in the survival training industry. Although the world did not face the calamitous end predicted by many for December 21, 2012, the flurry of survival training offerings that emerged in response may be in for some challenges times ahead without some aggressive marketing.

Market Growth

In general, the demand for survival courses has increased in recent years, due in large part to the doomsday predictions leading up to December 21, 2012 as well as the culture of fear that has developed among some American consumers in the post-September 11, 2001 United States (Rose, 2011). Even though the world did not end as predicted, there are plenty of other manmade and natural disasters just waiting to wreak havoc on humankind in the future and there will likely be a modest increase in the number of survival course providers as well as in the scope and content they offer in the future.

SWOT Analysis

A well conducted SWOT Analysis can help identify key issues that will allow the formulation of an informed strategic approach. The SWOT analysis seeks to identify the respective strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the operating environment in which a company competes. In this type of analysis, strengths are comprised of positive aspects that are internal to the entity; weaknesses are those negative aspects that are internal to the entity; and opportunities are positive aspects that are external to the entity. For the purposes of a SWOT analysis, threats are considered to be negative aspects that are external to the entity (Cravens, 2000). These factors are applied to the company below.

Strengths. The company's leadership team consists of investors with professional survival course training experience.

Weaknesses. Although the enterprise is self-funded, the principals will need to achieve a break-even point and profitability early on in order for the company to remain viable.

Opportunities. The potential for limited franchising exists for this business model.

Threats. Downturns in the economy could potentially adversely affect the company's enrollment and profitability.

.Competition

A search for comparable survival courses in the United States identified three main providers as set forth in Table 1 below.

Table 1

Survival School Competition

Organization

Description

Wilderness Awareness School

This is a nation-wide not-for-profit environmental education group, offers programs for adults, teen and youth summer courses, and a home-study course. Courses include a variety of weekend or longer programs, plus courses in such diverse wilderness topics as Wild Edible Plants, Wildlife Tracking and Bird Language courses.

Boulder Outdoor Survival School, Boulder, Colorado

This organization has been offering field-based, hands-on survival and explorer courses for 40 years. These are 7-, 14-, and 28- day courses not designed for the faint-hearted. The Explorer courses offer a rustic wilderness experience without the physically-challenging Impact phase of Field courses.

Wilderness Learning Center

This organization offers several 7-day basic survival courses and a winter survival course in upstate New York, plus 3-day courses in North Carolina in the spring.

Earth Connection

This organization operates two school locations (Virginia and North Carolina). Both branches offer regularly scheduled weekend courses teaching primitive skills, wilderness survival and self sufficiency, and the Virginia branch also offers private weekday courses. The schools' specialties include classes in Friction Fire Making and Wild Edible Plants, but the subjects are as varied as Tracks and Sign to Wilderness Survival and Organic Gardening

88 Tactical, Omaha, Nebraska

This organization offers both civilian as well as law enforcement survival training courses. Specialty offerings include an "Aftermath" series, edged weapons, handguns, rifles, shotguns and self-defense.

Source: Adapted from Friedland, 2012

Product Offerings

The survival course product offerings will include the following set forth in Table 2 below which are modeled after current operations in the field; expanded versions or specialty versions will be developed based on demand.

Table 2

Representative Survival Course Offerings

Course*

Description

Price

Private

Corporate**

Post-Disaster

This 2-day course provides a solid foundation for individuals who have an interest in learning skills necessary for preparing to survive an aftermath event. It combines a balance of lectures, practical examination, and scenario-based training to totally immerse the student in a simulated event. Students will live/work/train with other students in a training area and bunker for 2 days/1 night.

$495

$395

Aftermath Series (3-Day)

This 3-day course provides a solid foundation for individuals who have an interest in learning skills necessary for preparing to survive an aftermath event. It combines a balance of lectures, practical examination, and scenario-based training to totally immerse the student in a simulated event. Students will live/work/train with other students in a training area and bunker for 3 days/2 nights.

$850

$700

Aftermath Series (5-Day) (AMS5)

This 5-day course provides a solid foundation for individuals who have an interest in learning skills necessary for preparing to survive an aftermath event. It combines a balance of lectures, practical examination, and scenario-based training to totally immerse the student in a simulated event. Students will live/work/train with other students in a training area and bunker for 5 days/4 nights.

$1,895.00

$1,695

* All courses must have at least six enrollees to proceed. If an insufficient number of enrollees are available, they will be moved to the next available class until at least six are obtained.

** Corporate discount available with enrollment of three or more participants

Source: Adapted from http://88tactical.com/categories/10-aftermath-series/courses

Keys to Success

There are three fundamental keys to success for this survival course enterprise:… [END OF PREVIEW]

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